Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rhubarb-Strawberry Oat Squares

Here is another delicious rhubarb recipe for those of you lucky enough to obtain fresh or frozen rhubarb! It's still rhubarb season here and, if you haven't already noticed, I love rhubarb.

I adapted this recipe from several different oat bar recipes, using what I thought were the best parts of each. Mine has a delicious, crumbly oat crust and topping and is filled with a thickened rhubarb and strawberry compote.  Chopped almonds are added to the oat mixture to give the oats a delightful crunch.

The oat 'crust' and topping are so tasty and you could any filling you prefer such as blueberries, just strawberries, raspberries - or even a jar of preserves or canned pie filling. 

Best of course the day they are made, but I kept them in the refrigerator overnight and they were still delicious the second and even third day after allowing them to come to room temperature.

These squares would be perfect to bring to a picnic or summer pot luck buffet!  They can be eaten with your fingers so no need for a fork.

Can you believe it's officially summer next week? I can't believe the first two week of June are almost over.  Whoa!

Rhubarb-Strawberry Oat Bars

Makes 16
For Rhubarb-Strawberry Filling:

1-1/2 cups diced rhubarb (you may use frozen rhubarb in this recipe)
3/4 cup diced strawberries
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water to make a slurry
For Oat Crust and Topping Mixture:
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces (diced)
Tip: To finely 'chop' almonds, place them in a plastic zipper bag and crush them with a large, flat object such as a meat mallet. 

Line an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.  Cut 2, 8 x 16 inch pieces of parchment paper and press to fit pan, leaving an overhang on both sides to use and handles for lifting (or you may use a non-stick spray). 
To make the Rhubarb-Strawberry Filling:
Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until rhubarb is tender. Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the rhubarb-strawberry mixture and cook while stirring for about 2 more minutes or until nicely thickened.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F

Combine the oats, flour, sugars, chopped almonds, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add the diced butter and mix into the oats mixture with your fingers until entire mixture is crumbly and well blended. 
Press half of the oat mixture into prepared pan.  Top with rhubarb-strawberry mixture.  Sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture over the top and press down lightly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely and remove from pan with parchment 'handles' and cut into squares (cut in half, then in half again on each side). Or ,cut squares in pan and remove individually. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff Pastry Braid

If you love the combination of strawberries and rhubarb, I have a treat for you. The almond frangipane on the inside and sliced almonds on top make this a triple-delicious dessert any time of day. Easier than pie since you don't have to make a crust when you use store-bought puff pastry dough.

The puff pastry dough is braided over the top of the filling, although it's difficult to see with the almonds and confectioners sugar sprinkled on top. Here is a very good tutorial on how to braid puff pastry: 

Don't worry if you aren't a perfect 'braider', the almonds and powdered sugar can hide any flaws :)

I loved this so much that I could honestly say it's one of my top 3 favorite rhubarb desserts! I had never made frangipane before but it was super easy using a food processor.  If you don't have time to make homemade frangipane you could also substitute almond paste, which is found in the baking aisle near the canned pie fillings.  I added a splash of Aperol to the rhubarb and strawberry filling, but any concentrated fruit juice or fruit liqueur would taste good.  I usually have Aperol on hand to make Aperol Spritz with Prosecco in the summer and rhubarb is actually one of the ingredients in Aperol!

Along with a lot of rain, May has brought many wonderful moments in the garden and with family! Planting is 99% finished and the weeds are still winning a million to one! 

Happy Memorial Day to all who are celebrating this weekend and heartfelt condolences to Manchester.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff Pastry Braid

Printable Recipe

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced rhubarb
3/4 cup diced strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Aperol, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec liqueur (any fruit-flavored alcohol will do)
1 egg used for egg wash
1 tablespoon sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
Confectioners sugar for garnish after pastry has cooled

Frangipane ingredients:

1 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

To make frangipane:

In the work bowl of a food processor, add the flour, almonds and sugar and pulse to a course powder. Add the butter and pulse until just incorporated.  Add the eggs and almond extract and process until smooth, about 1 minute.  Pour mixture into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make filling:

Combine the diced rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and liqueur of choice. Set aside.

To assemble:

On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry to an approximately 15x9" rectangle. Gently transfer rolled pastry to a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.

Spoon the frangipane down the middle of the pastry, lengthwise. Spoon the fruit filling over the top of the frangipane, being careful not to 'over fill'.  

Make inch-wide, diagonal incisions on either side of the filling, stopping an inch short of the filling. Fold the cuts across the fruit on a slight angle, pulling gently to cover the filling, first folding one side over and then the other, creating a braid, pressing down gently.  See this tutorial:

Using egg wash to seal ends, tucking them under then egg wash the entire pastry. Sprinkle top with almond slices.

Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven.  Start checking after 25 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter. 

Cool completely and then dust with confectioner's sugar, if desired. 

Inspired by The Lemon Apron and David Tanis